Sorry to burst your bubble, but no one cares how much you can lift. In fact, they’ll probably judge you for trying to lift more without having the right technique. One of the most common gym injuries happens because people bite off more than they can chew. If you’re experiencing back pain after working out, it may be because you’re lifting too much weight.
But how do you know when the weight is ‘too’ much? Simple: You look at your form.
How to Know When to Lift More or Less
There’s no point in heavy lifting if all you’re doing is hurting your back. In fact, heavy lifting coupled with bad form won’t only keep you from getting stronger, it can cause serious injury. Before you start trying to figure out how much weight you should be lifting, it’s important that you first have the proper technique down.
Lifting weight that’s too heavy often means you’re sacrificing form. But lifting weight that’s too light means you’re barely working your muscle groups. Think of it like this:
- increases your risk of injury
- makes it easier for your body to cheat, thereby robbing you of the proper ‘pump’
- reduces your time under tension because you’re simply ‘powering through’ the workout instead of taking the time to do an adequate, full rep
- less able to focus on your form because your focus is more on being able to lift the weight
- halts your progress by not effectively working your muscles
- form may be better, but you’re not effectively breaking down your muscles to the point where you could grow stronger. Instead, you’re just lifting a light bar up and down
- may tone muscle, but isn’t properly exerting them
Contrary to what some health professionals may say, recent studies have shown that lifting lighter weights does INDEED help build muscle. In a study conducted by the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, participants who lifted significantly lighter amounts of weight were found to gain muscle equality as those who power lifted. The main reason? Because they were able to full reps—not just the halfway up, halfway down power rep.
Avoiding Back Pain While Strengthening Your Back